Despite our relatively young age as a publication, we receive frequent inquiries for data about our industry. There are some valuable tidbits available, but no single source. So as our readership grew, and the calls came in, our desire to gain a better understanding of the industry also grew.
We eventually embarked on what has been a significant project to collect industry data. Sarah Ebbott, who is both our digital editor and marketing manager, spent weeks gathering input from several sources and experts to construct a survey. The result is a report that covers the gamut, from physical attributes, to revenues, and future plans and concerns.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the effort. With your help, we learned a great deal about business operations, marketing and media trends, wages, and issues that cause you the most concern—beyond staffing, which is almost unanimously the number-one issue everyone is grappling with. We present a very selective top line summary of this data in our “State of the Industry Report,”.
We had 152 operators respond, hailing from parks and programs representing a wide range of sizes, locations, and business models. They generally fall into one of two groups, of course: pay-to-play and experiential. These two segments share an annual convention, trade organizations, a magazine, suppliers, and in some cases, standards. But they run their businesses quite differently.
The results we publish here represent only a fraction of the full survey. We will release more data as we dive deeper into it, and will make a report available in the near future.
This whole process has been a learning experience. Valuable guidance from industry experts—with a special nod to Paul Cummings of Strategic Adventures—helped inform the initiative. We discovered better ways to ask questions, and better questions to ask. What we have created this first year, we believe, is a baseline view. Next year, we hope more of you will contribute to building the database. And we will continue to refine it as we learn what data is most valuable to you.
Speaking of contributions: We would like to thank Scott Hannah of Guest Research Inc. for helping us analyze the data and determine the best ways to present it. Scott and his group provide market research services to dozens of winter resorts, and they are masters at explaining their findings. Any ambiguity or errors that remain are our own.